Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Thirteen Things To Know About A New Prospect the Novel



About Wayne Zurl

Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after working for twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators.
Prior to his police career, Zurl served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves.

In 2006 he began writing crime fiction. Seven of his Sam Jenkins mysteries have been produced as audio books and simultaneously published as eBooks. His first full-length novel, A New Prospect, traditionally published by Black Rose Writing, debuted in January 2011.

Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara.
For more information about Zurl or his writing, visit www.waynezurlbooks.net. Follow his book signing tour at www.booktour.com/authors/show/31206.
Connect with Wayne at Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/waynezurl or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001483038544.

About A New Prospect

Sam Jenkins never thought about being a fish out of water during the twenty years he spent solving crimes in New York. But things change, and after retiring to Tennessee, he gets that feeling. Jenkins becomes a cop again and is thrown headlong into a murder investigation and a steaming kettle of fish, down-home style.

The victim, Cecil Lovejoy, couldn’t have deserved it more. His death was the inexorable result of years misspent and appears to be no great loss to anyone, except the prime suspect is Sam’s personal friend.
Jenkins’ abilities are attacked when Lovejoy’s influential widow urges politicians to reassign the case to state investigators.

Feeling like “a pork chop at a bar mitzvah” in his new workplace, Sam suspects something isn’t kosher when the family tries incessantly to force him out of the picture.

In true Jenkins style, Sam turns common police practice on its ear to insure an innocent man doesn’t falls prey to an imperfect system and the guilty party receives appropriate justice.
A NEW PROSPECT takes the reader through a New South resolutely clinging to its past and traditional way of keeping family business strictly within the family.

Latest News!  A New Prospect was named best mystery of the year at the 2011 Next Generation Independent Publisher’s Book Awards!  The link to the published results is www.indiebookawards.com/2011_winners_and_finalists.php.


Thursday Thirteen – Thirteen Things About Prospect

Hello Rebecca, and thanks for inviting me to share 13 things about my book, A NEW PROSPECT, with your readers.

The 5 Ws of A NEW PROSPECT:

1- WHO . . . will want to read this book? Initially, two groups made up my target audience; the fan of an authentic police mystery and readers from the law enforcement business—sort of a “by a cop, for a cop” thing. I wanted to get all the technical details correct so those who can spot mistakes wouldn’t see any. Nothing bothers me more than blatant errors with the little things that add authenticity and credibility to a book and its author. You can ask a reader for a little suspension of disbelief in important story areas when you get all the details, lingo, and procedures spot-on.

But then I saw a possible built-in interest from the people who, statistically, buy most of the mysteries—the over-fifty crowd. My protagonist is middle-aged; a guy beginning a second career and going through all the problems inherent in the process. I hope AARP members can identify with him. And retirees who have relocated to more pension-friendly areas will appreciate how an ex-New Yorker struggles with a culturally unfamiliar New South.

2- WHAT . . . is the book all about? The title holds a double meaning. For the protagonist, Sam Jenkins, a retired New York detective wrestling with a mid-life crisis, his new prospect is a different view of his world as he knew it for many years. To Prospect, Tennessee, a small city recovering from a scandal surrounding their last police chief, it literally means a new Prospect—a totally different place once the new chief, Sam Jenkins, takes over. Jenkins may be ready for his new prospect, but the jury is still out on whether the city will survive Sam’s way of doing business.

Here’s the summary from the book cover:
Sam Jenkins never thought about being a fish out of water during the twenty years he spent solving crimes in New York. But things change, and after retiring to Tennessee, he gets that feeling. Jenkins becomes a cop again and is thrown headlong into a murder investigation and a steaming kettle of fish, down-home style.

The victim, Cecil Lovejoy, couldn’t have deserved it more. His death was the inexorable result of years misspent and appears to be no great loss, except the prime suspect is Sam’s personal friend.

Jenkins’ abilities are attacked when Lovejoy’s influential widow urges politicians to reassign the case to state investigators.

Feeling like “a pork chop at a bar mitzvah” in his new workplace, Sam suspects something isn’t kosher when the family tries to force him out of the picture.

In true Jenkins style, Sam turns common police practice on its ear to insure an innocent man doesn’t fall prey to an imperfect system and the guilty party receives appropriate justice.

A NEW PROSPECT takes the reader through a New South resolutely clinging to its past and traditional way of keeping family business strictly within the family.  


3- WHERE . . . Does it take place? Geographically, the small, fictional city of Prospect sits about twenty-five miles south and east of Knoxville, Tennessee, in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. The area is rugged and filled with wild beauty, unique and chocked full of history—an area worthy of character status in a novel. Raymond Chandler afforded the same to Los Angeles in his Philip Marlowe books and stories. I’ve tried to do the same in my Sam Jenkins mysteries. The region deserves careful descriptions, an insight to the culture and life-styles that mirror the people, and those people deserve dialogue written in authentic dialect. A local television station refers to East Tennessee as a place that comes “straight from the heart.” But it’s also a world known for bootleggers, snake handlers, meth cookers, and pot growers who keep Sam constantly on his toes.

4- WHEN . . . does the story take place? It would be easy to say July, 2006 and move on. But the time is crucial to the main character’s life. For Sam Jenkins being sixty in 2006 allows him the proper age to have served in the Army during the Vietnam War, spent twenty years as a police officer in a large New York department, and been retired long enough to feel the boredom of relative idleness and the mid-life crisis not uncommon to men with his background.

5- WHY . . . did Sam Jenkins get reluctantly pulled into this story worthy problem? In addition to solving a murder in the face of opposition and political corruption, he battles a few demons along the way. He experiences self doubts about his ability to still function in a young cop’s world full of the technology he’s ignored for fourteen years. Jenkins is an old-fashioned cop using forty-year-old methods. He still remembers the TV and movie cowboys of his childhood who never failed to do the right thing. He lived for years with soldiers who joked about preferring death before dishonor, but believed in the concept. Sam’s personality is colored by hues from another time. When his ethics are tested by the local political system, he resents the pop quiz. Sam’s way of doing business didn’t allow him to look the other way.


 A WHO’s WHO of supporting characters:

6- A victim and villain rolled into one. Cecil Lovejoy meets a grisly death on a warm July Saturday afternoon, but why do so many people want to cover up the facts surrounding his death? And his life?

Going back to one of those old western movies of Sam’s youth, let’s resurrect a familiar title and make Sam the GOOD and Cecil Lovejoy THE BAD AND THE UGLY. Simply put, Cecil was despicable. Not only the wealthiest man in Prospect, he was a cheat, a liar, a sexual predator, and generally an obnoxious guy. His wife hated him; called him a no-account. Business associates avoided him like the plague, and many women wished they’d never laid eyes on him. Sam quickly found more suspects with a reason to kill Cecil Lovejoy than snakes in a corn crib.

7- Kate Jenkins. Sam’s wife of many years. Attractive, intelligent, and perfectly capable of trading clever remarks with her cynical husband. Kate often provides Sam with a new insight when he runs into an investigative stone wall he has trouble scaling.

8- Police Officer Bettye Lambert. The administrative officer at Prospect PD. She not only provides Sam with a new investigative partner, but helps him wade through the swamp of local “good ol’ boy” politics, and bolsters his ego when an impossible situation envelopes the small department.

9- Mayor Ronnie Shields. Prospect’s CEO. The consummate politico whose strings are pulled from far above the little town he works for. He acts like a friend to Sam, but is he providing the opposition with information that may compromise the new chief?

10- Pearl Lovejoy. Cecil’s politically powerful widow. She applies pressure and gets state detectives to take control of the murder investigation. Does she doubt Sam’s ability or think he’s too good at his job?

11- George Morgan. Sam’s friend and the man who becomes the focus of the state investigation because of bad blood between him and Lovejoy. Initially, Sam disregards the TBI agent’s premise as tunnel vision because of his friendship, but later wonders if dismissing the idea was wise.

Two more important facts about A NEW PROSPECT:

12- HUMOR. Something not always found in a police mystery. Without humor law enforcement would be too much like work. After twenty years “on the job” in New York, I know this to be true. So does Sam Jenkins. The story is peppered with cynical observations and one-liners delivered at appropriate moments. Jokes and irreverent behavior compliment Sam’s unconventional way of solving a major crime, but not everyone in Prospect understands his out-of-town humor.

13- HOW . . . can people find a copy of A NEW PROSPECT, the book named best mystery and Indie winner at the 2011 Independent Publisher’s Book Awards or any of the other published Sam Jenkins mysteries?

A NEW PROSPECT is available in print from all the usual sources or from the publisher at www.blackrosewritingbooks.com and in various eBook formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords. Eight novelettes were produced as audio books and published as eBooks by Mind Wings Audio. All the vendors can be found on the home page at www.mindwingsaudio.com.

Find more information about Wayne Zurl, Sam Jenkins, and all the available books at www.waynezurlbooks.net. Look for links to interviews, book reviews and endorsements, photos of the area where the stories take place, a chronology of stories for those who like to read in order of occurrence, an events and appearances calendar, and even a diary with personal thoughts, short stories and a few outtakes from the books.


3 comments:

  1. Great post! I am a new follower. I would like to invite you to my blog for a visit and a follow if you like it there. I write book reviews and stories about my crazy life. Hope you enjoy. Donna

    http://mylife-in-stories.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Just posted this on the wrong blog! lol Underneath the I Pod is a link to the site. Click on it and set yourself up. Thanks for visiting and following my blog. I'll have to check out your other blogs as well. Donna

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi,

    You have a beautiful blog here!

    I wanted to welcome you to the Bluebell staff.

    I write there on Mondays.

    NIce to meet you!

    Indie

    ReplyDelete

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